NASA downplayed Wednesday talk of a major discovery by its Martian rover after remarks by the mission chief raised hopes it may have unearthed evidence life once existed on the Red Planet.

Excitement is building over soon-to-be-released results from NASA’s Curiosity rover, which is three months into a two-year mission to determine if Mars has ever been capable of supporting microbial life.

Its Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instruments have been sending back information as it hunts for compounds such as methane, as well as hydrogen, oxygen and nitrogen, that would mean life could once have existed there.

In an interview with US broadcaster National Public Radio, aired Tuesday, lead mission investigator John Grotzinger hinted at something major but said there would be no announcement for several weeks.

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